Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Building Food Security in BC

The British Columbia Food System Network has released a short report on the state of food security (pdf) in British Columbia which echoes Olivier de Shutter's report on Canada (pdf).
The BCFSN  is "comprised farmers, food activists, health promoters, Indigenous peoples, academics, municipal workers, educators, labour union members and others concerned about food security in B.C., with a shared a vision for a more equitable, accessible, viable, and sustainable food system" according to their report. I haven't looked at all the groups involved, but that looks like a pretty broad swath of people all concerned about the same topic.
The report (pdf) is pretty straightforward:
Given local and global trends, food insecurity will continue to adversely affect an
increasing number of British Columbians. Over the past decade, British Columbians have
been impacted by sharp increases and instability of food and energy prices combined
with already high housing costs and several decades of stagnant wage growth.
Increasingly, many are finding it difficult to access healthy and affordable food, with food
bank use becoming far more prevalent in recent years and growing public health concern
over the increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity.
Meanwhile, many B.C. farms producing food for local consumption are struggling to stay
afloat in a volatile market due to unpredictable weather, price competition with other
jurisdictions, and relatively higher production and property costs. While a handful of
farms in B.C. are quite profitable, many are faced with tight margins and low incomes for
owners and workers alike. As a result, there is little incentive for young potential farmers
to succeed an ageing population of B.C. farmers.
These inter-related policy issues provide compelling reasons to elevate food policy on
B.C.'s political agenda.
While BC has the 4th highest gross provincial product, we have the greatest inequity and the worst poverty rate in Canada. The reason is quite simple; over a decade of a Liberal government pursuing a neo-liberal agenda. The depressing thing is  that even the NDP interregnum  failed to make any progress in adressing this issue. We're but month's away from another NDP government (so say all the polls, at least), but my hopes aren't very high for progress. I can only hope that they surprise me.

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